ecological & energy efficiency

We consider ourselves to possess significant expertise in the area of
environmental design and have been members of the Association for
Environment Conscious Building (AECB) since 1995.

The experience of the practice has been informed by steadily rising
expectations and standards, technical developments, and our
clients' increasingly 'green' aspirations, as well as our own enquiring
minds. Incorporating today's high standards for energy efficiency
often proves to be a particular focus of the technical development
any building design, and our understanding of the impact of this is
relevant from the early stages of the design process.

Our concerns and objectives extend beyond simply reducing fuel
bills. Energy efficiency should be synonymous with buildings which
are more comfortable and pleasurable to inhabit. Ecological design
is about considering the use of natural materials, natural resources
like water, and taking the surrounding environment into account; we
can build more natural, healthy environments that we all would prefer
to live in. Our attitude is to be aware, proactive and creative with the
potential of ecological and energy efficient design.

Much of the challenge of energy efficiency relates to existing
buildings, most of which are hugely inefficient compared with new
build, and can be difficult to upgrade. Our projects frequently require
solutions which have to strike a balance between the aspiration to
achieve better energy efficiency and yet to retain the character of
older buildings.

Recent developments, legislative change and government initiatives
mean that renewable technologies are rapidly becoming more

commonplace. Alternatives such as solar thermal, heat pumps, wood pellet fuel and solar photovoltaic technology are attracting increasing interest. Even if it is not possible or economic at present to fit these technologies, our intention is to incorporate the potential to take advantage of greener technology in the future: 'future- proofing'.

PassivHaus

The term 'PassivHaus' refers to an ultra low energy construction standard first developed in the early 90's by Dr. Wolfgang Feist, of the PassivHaus Institut, in Germany. As is implied in the name, the emphasis is on passive principles, meaning very good insulation standards and the natural effect of the sun, rather than seeing green design as being all about add on technology like solar panels. Noel Wright Architects has not built a PassivHaus – only a handful currently exist in the UK. However, we feel our experience with low energy buildings equips us with a good starting point to engage with that standard, and would welcome the opportunity.

The design of a PassivHaus requires careful analysis from early stages, with a computer based planning package used to log the specific detail of the construction areas/sizes, locational climate data, and building technology. The PassivHaus process may be regarded as rigorous both in design and in construction.

PassivHaus is considered by many to be the standard of the future, and that other building codes are likely to evolve to match the PassivHaus standard.

www.passivhaus.org.uk